ARCHPASTORAL MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE CANONICAL ELECTION OF
THE RIGHT REVEREND DANIEL
BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF CHICAGO AND THE MIDWEST
To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics, and Beloved Faithful of the Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest
Dear Fathers, Sisters and Brothers,
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Archpriest Paul Jannakos, Chancellor of the Diocese of the Midwest, has already informed you of my election by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America to the See of Chicago. In accordance with the canonical and statutory provisions for the election of diocesan bishops, the Diocesan Special Assembly nominated me, and the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America canonically elected me as the twelfth bishop of Chicago. In accepting this election, I bow before the will of God expressed through voice of the bishops of the Church and give thanks to Almighty God, begging His Mercy as I enter upon this new ministry and as I begin to serve you as your diocesan bishop.
I have served as Administrator and then as Locum tenens of the Diocese since March 15, 2022. Throughout these months, I have experienced the prayerful support, hospitality, and love of the Diocese. I have been grateful for this new and blossoming relationship and look forward to now serving as your diocesan bishop. Desiring to establishing a firm foundation for our new bond and inspiration for the future, I look to the Gospel of Saint John. Among the post-Resurrection narratives included in John, we find the memorable exchange between the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Peter as they are gathered on the shore of Sea of Tiberias:
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17).
This interaction, mirroring Peter’s threefold denial of the Lord (Matthew 26:34; Mark 14:68; and Mark 14:72), redeems him of his faint-heartedness and highlights his deep love for Christ. It is the love which Peter professes that is the basis for his apostolic ministry. It is Peter’s love for his Lord that will strengthen him in his martyric witness.
Within this Gospel passage we should also see ourselves. It is because of our love for the Lord that each one of us also takes up the work of feeding Christ’s lambs and tending and feeding His sheep. Indeed, each one of us, baptized into Christ, is called to assume this task. We do it as bishops, priests, deacons, husbands, wives, monastics, parents, teachers, students, and dedicated lay faithful who, day by day, love and serve Christ by loving and serving our neighbor. I have been called to do this as a bishop and am now being called to perform this ministry as the Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest.
As I begin to serve you as your bishop, I ask for your prayers, patience, and support in this great mission. I invite you to join me in the ongoing task of feeding, tending, nurturing, and growing the Flock of Christ in our God-protected Diocese. May all of us work together in the proclaiming the good news of salvation.
With love in Christ, our High Priest and Shepherd,
Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest